You may hear the word aromatherapy and think of rooms filled with incense and healing crystals. Or you may have heard “outrageous” claims about the power of essential oils to cure everything from gout to cancer.
While there is every reason to be sceptical of this kind of claim, that is not a good reason to dismiss the idea of aromatherapy out of hand.
It is easy to get the practice it without buying deeply into any mystical qualities. In fact, there are a number of verifiable claims that aromatherapy can back up with evidence. Your olfactory sense is said to be the most powerful in the body, particularly important for memory.
When smell receptors are stimulated by an aroma, they send messages to the limbic system which is the part of the brain that controls emotion and pain management.
Certain smells have been shown to affect the brain differently allowing for fighting anxiety, stimulating focus, or helping to ease nausea, headache or sinus pressure. You probably have used ginger to fight a stomach ache or eucalyptus to clear your sinuses. The basic idea is the same.
FragranceX has put together an infographic that explains a number of the most popular healing scents in aromatherapy and their corresponding effects. It even gets into ways you can use each scent reliably. Check below for more information on how to use aromatherapy correctly and to the best effect.